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Story Notes:
2 psrt fanfic; prequel to Maidens' Blood.
Author's Chapter Notes:
A strange lady commissions a special artifact from a Dwarf craftsman....
Blue Box: Commission

Dwarf Lords, great miners and craftsmen of the mountain halls...

“I hear you can do anything I may challenge you to do, for a fee. If you fail to do it, I need not pay. Is this true?”

The Dwarf stared at the woman standing before him, struck nearly dumb. Eyes like ice burned him to the bare bone. Her gaze struck him frozen, as if he had lain for a hundred nights upon the pale blue ice and, though he had not died, he had fallen into a cold sleep. His bones and teeth ached sharply.

Her hair was strikingly unremarkable, being the dull brown color of river mud. But her eyes... he could scarcely meet her eyes, or keep his gaze on her deathly white face.

“Is this true?”

“Aye, milady,” he mumbled to her, his eyes fixed on the swan white column of her throat. “If I fail in the task you set for me, you need not tender payment.”

Her smile would have turned the hairs of his beard whiter than snow if he had been looking at her when it cut across her face, but he refused to look at such bloodless lips. He thought for a moment that he could see her teeth, and they were sharp as a serpent’s fangs.

“I want you to make me a box. This box will be carved of alabaster and set with silver and sapphires. The jewels I have here, in this pouch.”

She tossed a royal blue velvet bag at his feet.

“Is that all, milady?”

“Oh, no, Master Dwarf. This box will be magic. I know the Dwarves still have magic to be put into their creations. Do you want to know what this box must be able to do?”

Somehow, he knew he did not, but he knew that refusing her would damn him in some irrevocable way that would cost him much more than his life. Something about this strange woman pulled savagely at the boundaries of his sanity.

“What is that, milady?” He asked softly, dreading the answer.

She leaned in, the silken wisps of her ebony curls brushing his ruddy cheek. He fought, and failed, to suppress a shudder. Her thin, corpse-grey lips brushed against his ears as she told him exactly what that box was for.

He gaped at her, forgetting to avert his eyes from her horrid, cruelly beautiful face.

“But... but that’s...”

“Make the box. Charm it to my purposes. I will see to the rest. You mustn’t deny me this little thing, you really mustn’t, Master Dwarf.”

And she glided away, and out of the room, leaving the Dwarf suddenly nerveless from terror as he sank into his chair.

It was several hours later that he felt steady enough to call for ale. It was several mugs of ale later that he was drunk enough to pick up the velvet pouch from the floor and look into it.

Hastily, he tied it shut and threw it as far away from where he sat as he could manage.
Chapter End Notes:

Part one of two. Part of a series involving Dwarves, Boromir, Denethor, a vile sorceress, and a maiden. I do not own Lord of the Rings. Reviews are awesome. Toodles.
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